The Orphan’s Tale – by Pam Jenoff

The Orphan’s Tale by Pam Jenoff 

Paperback: 368 pages

Publisher: MIRA; Original edition (Feb. 21 2017)

ISBN-13: 978-0778319818

Synopsis: A powerful novel of friendship set in a traveling circus during World War II, The Orphan’s Tale introduces two extraordinary women and their harrowing stories of sacrifice and survival. 

Sixteen-year-old Noa has been cast out in disgrace after becoming pregnant by a Nazi soldier and being forced to give up her baby. She lives above a small rail station, which she cleans in order to earn her keep… When Noa discovers a boxcar containing dozens of Jewish infants bound for a concentration camp, she is reminded of the child that was taken from her. And in a moment that will change the course of her life, she snatches one of the babies and flees into the snowy night. 

Noa finds refuge with a German circus, but she must learn the flying trapeze act so she can blend in undetected, spurning the resentment of the lead aerialist, Astrid. At first rivals, Noa and Astrid soon forge a powerful bond. But as the facade that protects them proves increasingly tenuous, Noa and Astrid must decide whether their friendship is enough to save one another—or if the secrets that burn between them will destroy everything.

* * *

THE ORPHAN’S TALE was my second Pam Jenoff book, and I kind of wish it had been my first.  The story of Noa and Ingrid is so captivating and Jenoff creates a world so unlike any others that this book will for sure stand out as one of my favourite WWII novels.

Young Noa has been cast out by her family after becoming pregnant by a Nazi officer. Alone and without her baby that was taken from her by the Reich, Noa makes a bold and brave decision one day, a decision that leads her to a German circus, where she meets Ingrid. The story of these two brave women, both who have found refuge in the circus is a beautiful tale of friendship, love and survival.

I have never read a circus based story before and I have to say I really enjoyed this aspect of the book – there was a lot to learn about how circus’ functioned in the early 1900’s; an event that was such a large staple in entertainment. These circus’ also provided refuge for many people, both prior and after the War.

Jenoff creates real and relatable characters that are tested in the worst possible ways, showing their strength and humanity.  Plus the plot twists – these were amazing!

Rating: 9/10

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